Sarah and I went to a vigil in support of a Public Option for health care in the United States. As the Mayor of Sebastopol, Sarah welcomed the crowd, which favored the Public Option.
This is not a political blog. But I must speak out in favor of a Public OPTION.
Now, if you disagree with the idea of a public option, okay. You can opt for private medical insurance.
"But I'll have to pay for the public option through higher taxes," you might object.
Yeah, I know.
But I never supported waging wars against Vietname, Iraq, or Afghanistan and I'm paying for those wars. Sometimes, when you're a member of a society you must pay for things you disagree with.
So look here:
Every country rations health care. America rations health care this very minute.
We ration health care according to wealth. Not according to need.
According to wealth.
If you are rich enough, there is no ceiling on your health care. If you decide to employ a doctor to make your nose pretty and you can pay for it, you can employ a doctor to serve you. Never mind that in any other democracy that same doctor might have done something more urgent, perhaps treated someone—a child?—with terminal but curable cancer.
Here in America, that rich person's pretty nose job gets to cut in line for medical services.
Not only that. Our current system must account for more than medical need: It must also make big profits so it can pay top management their enormous salaries. And that's not all: Insurance companies must make profits so that shareholders can make money on their investments. How can insurance companies be that profitable? Come on, you know the answer: only by charging more in premiums than they pay out for services.
Insurance companies can only make profits when they collect money for medical services they'll never provide.
These built-in inefficiencies make Americans pay more money for less health care than any other developed country on the planet.
Our United States health care system is unique in these ways.
Other developed countries have made the moral choice to provide health care as a basic human right. Article 25 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states:
- (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
- (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
I pray that the United States takes upon itself as a moral duty the obligation to provide health care and education to all its residents. I know it would cost money. Perhaps we can find a way to save money by building fewer space-based weapons, fighter jets, and warships. If we can't, then, yes, my taxes will go up. I could live with that. But a nation that spends more on its military THAN ALL OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD COMBINED could probably afford to trim its military fat enough to do single-payer without raising taxes.
[Has anyone wondered, as I have, how it is that our military, the one that fights to "protect" us from socialism, operates it own socialist medical system? I mean, soldiers don't get medical treatment according to their ability to pay for services, do they?]
The moon over California September 2. Sleep tight!